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Mission: Impossible - Fallout

Since 1966, the ‘Mission: Impossible’ franchise has been a constant mainstay. From the long-running TV show starring Peter Graves, which even had a local incarnation in the late 1980’s, to the Tom Cruise movies, the series has successfully endured. Now onto its sixth cinematic outing, the ever-green franchise shows no signs of ending. That’s just as well as the latest adventure is just as spectacular as the others. A place there ‘budgets go to die’ every penny is up there on screen being thrown around in impossibly amazing ways.

Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team, including Luther (Ving Rhames) and Benji (Simon Pegg) face their greatest threat. After battling them on a previous mission, they determine to bring down the Syndicate, a dangerous group of terrorists. When several nuclear devices are stolen, Hunt and the team race to retrieve the stolen items. Their work is made harder by the presence of shady CIA agent Augustus Walker (Henry Cavill). Peril and death swiftly stalk the team with the possibility of succeeding in their mission becoming increasingly remote.

‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ is a top-drawer action movie. No frame is wasted under Christopher McQuarrie’s energetic direction. Helming his second ‘Mission: Impossible’ film in a row, McQuarrie wrings the best out of the story and lush locations. He is aided by the strong cast with Cruise and his regular ensemble up to the challenge with the well filmed stunts and drama. Whilst the plot occasionally gets somewhat muddled, it doesn’t matter as the imaginative and exciting action scenes hardly stop.

The stars of the show aren’t the actors but the stunt-people. They earn their money in spades with death-defying action sequences among the best of any movie. From car chases, helicopter battles and literal cliff-hangers, ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ has it all. It does get pretty ridiculous with the amount of outlandish situations all become involved in but that’s part of the series’ charms. You pay to see an action movie on a grand scale and this delivers in almost all areas.

One of the best of the franchise and a stand-out action adventure in its own right, ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’ is an excellent film. Each white-knuckle fight and chases are keenly felt as are the tense dramatics. Another impossible mission would be very welcome with the overall series entering its sixth decade of thrills in style.

Rating out of 10: 8

The Equalizer 2

The 1980’s TV series ‘The Equalizer’ was a big hit for actor Edward Woodward. Portraying a vigilante for hire, it’s interesting how its themes are still relevant. Seeking justice for the oppressed in an often unforgiving world, the format would suit any era. Which is why the first ‘Equalizer’ film was such a success, leading to this sequel. Whilst Woodward is long-gone, Denzil Washington more than ably takes up the mantle. Part nostalgia trip for fans of the TV version whilst carving its own path, ‘The Equalizer 2’ delivers razor sharp thrills.

Retired CIA agent Robert McCall (Denzil Washington) is a man continually living on the edge. Currently working as a chauffeur, McCall’s former ways swiftly catch up with him. Learning one of his old friends has been murdered, McCall decides to take action. Whilst hunting down her killers, he uncovers a conspiracy testing his lethal skills against a cabal of evil-doers.

The plot for ‘The Equalizer 2’ is fairly basic. The twists and turns may seem complex but the film relies on a threadbare premise. This could be a minus but in the hands of seasoned director Antoine Fuqua, ‘The Equalizer 2’ glides as a fast pace. Having starred in several of his other films, Washington’s partnership with Fuqua has conjured fine dividends. They both know how to peel the layers of McCall’s wounded character with the solid performances of the cast adding to the script’s gravitas.

For all its emotional turmoils, ‘The Equalizer 2’ heavily leans visceral action sequences. All are superbly handled with genuine tension. Although a finale amongst a windswept town feels stagey, the level of suspense created overcomes any implausible moments. Fuqua is a master of gritty set-pieces while not lingering too much on any bloodshed. The stunt team are the real stars of the movie and more than earn their hard earned dollars.

For an action thriller, ‘The Equalizer 2’ works. It may not join others in the action pantheon but it has more depth which a few lack. A third entry wouldn’t be unwelcome with this series showing a consistent high quality ensuring a good anti-hero can never lie dormant.

Rating out of 10: 7